Together Through Life [Vinyl LP w/ CD]
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Whereas Modern Times found Dylan mining similar subjects and moods to those explored in Love and Theft and Time Out of Mind, Together Through Life distinguishes itself by consisting pretty much entirely of love songs. It's still Dylan, though, so these aren't sappy or hackneyed--the words are full of wry frustration, sensuality, compelling nostalgia, and some of the purest heartfelt devotion the man has ever committed to tape. The album's opener and de facto 'single,' "Beyond Here Lies Nothing," kicks things off in a relatively heavy fashion, as pounding toms and dirty guitar licks frame Dylan's shadowy descriptions of consuming love. It's immediately evident that Dylan the producer isn't sticking with the same old formula--he's increased his acoustic instrumentation, including mandolins, violins, banjos, and especially an accordion, and to great and organic effect. The accordion's cheerful, liquid, flitting timbres really complement the laid-back nature of this set of songs, and it strongly recalls Dylan's days with The Band (which never hurts, so far as I'm concerned).Read more ›
Dylan's 33rd studio album comes packaged with a CD of tracks from his delightful radio show, "Theme Time Radio Hour" -- an appropriate union given that his latest has a similar old-time feel and would fit in perfectly the next time he turns DJ.
The CD has reignited interest in Dylan as a relevant artist of our times, as opposed to a legendary antiquity.
"Together Through Life" is characterised by a loose swing and prominent accordion. He has assemble here his warmest, most unforced, set of songs in recent memory.
The album is a beautifully played collection of antique, urban blues pop.The ghosts of the great Chicago bluesmen haunt these song structures.
The results have been compared to the vintage Chicago blues sound of Chess Records.
A warm, wheezy accordion (played by David Hidalgo of Los Lobos) lends a borderline Tex Mex flavour.
At least half of the songs are wry, even slightly comic tales of ordinary American lives of desire, heartbreak and remorse.
For sure,the lyrics, co-written with poet Robert Hunter, a "non-performing" member of The Grateful Dead, won't intrigue the academics but the head-nodding grooves of "It's All Good" and "If You Ever Go to Houston" will appeal to more basic instincts.
The single song, "Life is Hard", written and recorded for Olivier Dahan's forthcoming film, "My Own Love Song" (it's about a road trip to Memphis undertaken by a wheelchair-bound singer and her best buddy) "proves an incongruent trigger for such a bluesy album, its lap steel and mandolin carrying one of Dylan's most uncomfortably pitched croons".Read more ›
No, this isn't another "masterpiece". It casts any such expectations aside like a snake shedding its skin. Dylan mythologists will salivate & proclaim it genius & discerning critics might dismiss it in light of the acclaim Modern Times recieved. But without a doubt, Together is just as inspired as anything he's cut since 1997's Time Out of Mind.
A few things set Together apart. David Hidalgo's accordion lends a definite Tex Mex quality to the proceedings. Where Dylan's previous offerings seemed steeped in the mythology of the Old South, Together gives you the impression of being set in an endless string of Texas boarder towns.
Overall, the production is grittier & more intimate to the point of being nearly claustrophobic. Listen to it through ear phones & you're likely to come away with a different experience than on the stereo.
Another thing that characterizes Together is its obsessive focus on a single theme. These are all love songs. From the romantic abandon of Beyond Here Lies Nothing to the sarcastic resignation of It's All Good, herein lies a long, winding road from infatuation to betrayal, to bitterness to restless farewell.
Highlights include Beyond Here & It's All Good which bookend the album. Both are rollicking & upbeat while still holding on to a brooding intensity.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
“Together Through Life” by Bob Dylan, released by Columbia Records from US in 2009, contains 10 songs. Read more
Bob Dylan's recent years of albums are by far my favorite. Starting with 1997's Time Out Of Mind.Published 4 months ago by JON KING